Opiods and Elder Abuse
The opioid epidemic in America has brought about profound changes in many aspects of healthcare, the justice system, law enforcement, and mental health. As professionals from these areas try to cope with the extent to which opioids and opioid users affect their duties, it is necessary for elder care practitioners to do the same. Opioids in the form of prescription painkillers and illegal street drugs can be a factor in abusive situations, both on the side of the victim and the abuser. Not knowing about or understanding the role of these drugs can make it difficult to effectively promote healthy decisions for seniors.
The rise of opioids in the last few decades has resulted in many non-traditional drug users becoming addicts, often without them realizing or understanding the condition. In the context of elder abuse, this dependence, and the resultant debilitating effect on users, can often lead to addicts moving back in with elderly parents who aren’t aware of or underestimate the consequences of the addiction. Opioid use has been noted as having a profoundly negative effect on the ability of users to care for their dependent children, and elder advocates have seen the same trend when it comes to caring for parents.
Users often require access to cash to fuel their addiction, and may steal jewelry, credit cards, or other goods. In worse scenarios, addicts may trick or harass their elderly parent or relative into granting them power of attorney, essentially allowing them to use their accounts and sell their property with impunity. Our Alameda elder abuse attorneys have dealt with a number of cases in which seniors, often with memory or cognition issues, are convinced to sign over their power of attorney to an abuser.
To help combat this, some elder advocates are training ambulance services to spot and report signs of elder abuse, including bruises on the wrist or neck of elders, a lack of food in the house, or other indicators of violence and neglect. Often, an ambulance is called for what is reported as a trip or fall, but when investigated, something more nefarious comes to light.
If you or a loved one thinks they may be a victim of physical or financial elder abuse, contact the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Alameda elder abuse attorneys have experience handling civil and probate cases on behalf of elder and their loved ones, as well as nursing home and caretaker abuse, annuity and insurance fraud, and qui tam and whistleblower cases.